I saw some different ways to translate this sentence:

Lord bless and protect my family, amen

Like this:

Domine benedic et protege familiam meam amen

Is it correct?

1 Answer 1


The first thing you should do is to choose between second and third person. Do you want to say "You Lord, bless and protect" or "May the Lord bless and protect"? If you are directly addressing the God and want to give him an order, second person is more appropriate. If you want to say this while speaking to other people — like you might at a family dinner — then third person sounds better. In English the difference can boil down to a comma: "Lord, bless..." is second person and "Lord bless..." is third person. In Latin the choice has to be more visible.

Second person translation: Domine, benedic et protege familiam meam, amen. I thought that benedicere would have a regular imperative benedice in spite of dicere having the irregular dic, but brianpck corrected me in a (now deleted) comment. Your translation is correct.

Third person translation: Benedicat et protegat Dominus familiam meam, amen. Conjunctive is a good way to express things like this. In some situations the future imperative (which also has a third person) can be used, but I prefer conjunctive. The future imperatives would be benedicito and protegito.

  • 1
    Another quick comment: usually "familia" in a liturgical context refers to the "faithful", e.g. "benedic hanc familiam tuam" or "concede nos famulos tuos, etc." I think the "meam" makes this sufficiently clear though.
    – brianpck
    Jul 20, 2016 at 13:19
  • @brianpck The Litaniae Lauretanae for Queen of the family, pray for us reads Regina familiae, ora pro nobis.
    – Ken Graham
    Jul 24, 2016 at 21:03
  • Idiot (beginner's) question - shouldn't it be subjunctive rather than imperative - that the Lord may bless etc Does one give orders to a deity? I'm prepared to be shot down in flammis!
    – TheHonRose
    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:04
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    @TheHonRose, I assume you mean the second person option. (For the third person, I suggested conjunctive, also known as subjunctive. The third person imperative doesn't feel like an order the same way second person does.) I don't think it's unusual to give orders in Christian prayers. One example that comes to mind is the Latin Ave Maria, where orders are given in imperative. If you want to be more polite, you could go for "I beg that you bless" or something similar. Rogata tironis are always welcome.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Sep 8, 2016 at 14:26
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    @TheHonRose I read somewhere (maybe on this site) that the imperative was considered weaker/more polite than the subjunctive in some instances, the reverse of what we think of today. That is why prayers ("ora pro nobis") often use the imperative instead of the subjunctive. Don't quote me on this, however.
    – Sam K
    Sep 8, 2016 at 19:24

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